Controlled, Ecological Life Support Systems (CELSS) that utilize plants to provide food, water and oxygen could consume considerable amounts of labor unless crop production, recovery and processing are automated. Robotic manipulators equipped with special end-effectors and programmed to perform the sensing and materials handling tasks would minimize the amount of astronaut labor required. The Human Rated Test Facility (HRTF) planned for Johnson Space Center could discover and demonstrate techniques of crop production which can be reliably integrated with machinery to minimize labor requirements. Before the physical components (shelves, lighting fixtures, etc.) can be selected, a systems analysis must be performed to determine which alternative processes should be followed and how the materials handling tasks should be automated. Given that the current procedures used to grow crops in a CELSS may not be the best methods to automate, then what are the alternatives? How may plants be grown, harvested, processed for food, and the inedible components recycled? What commercial technologies current exist? What research efforts are underway to develop new technologies which might satisfy the need for automation in a CELSS? The answers to these questions should prove enlightening and provide some of the information necessary to perform the systems analysis. The planting, culturing, gathering, threshing and separation, food processing, and recovery of inedible portions of wheat were studied. The basic biological and materials handling processes of each task are defined and discussed. Current practices at Johnson Space Center and other NASA centers are described and compared to common production practices in the plant production industry. Technologies currently being researched which might be applicable are identified and illustrated. Finally, based on this knowledge, several scenarios are proposed for automating the tasks for wheat.